The last year has been one unlike any other and I don’t know about you, but I have been paying extra attention to my mental health. Let’s hope that this pandemic brings speaking about mental health to the forefront of people’s minds so that the discussion becomes easier for all of us. With the January blues, stay-at-home orders and a vaccine almost in sight, it’s easy to feel alone and give in to whatever negativity we are feeling. As someone who suffers from a mental illness, it is more important now than ever open the discussion and to talk to one another about it to ensure we are not alone in our difficulties.
Throughout next week, York University will take part in Bell Let’s Talk Day by hosting virtual events to raise awareness around mental health and wellness. York is committed to providing a healthy, safe and supportive environment that fosters the mental health and wellness of students, staff and faculty. Let’s Talk Day is a unique opportunity to come together as a community to discuss, support and get involved with mental health and wellness culture at York.
If you or someone you know within the York community requires mental health and wellness support services, consult the Mental Health & Wellness at York website as well as their resources page. Students can also access Student Counselling, Health & Well-being virtually on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or at 416-736-5297.
This year, Athletics & Recreation (A&R) and Student Counselling, Health & Well-being are providing a week of virtual events during Bell Let’s Talk Week. All the events are free and open to all students, staff, and faculty. This is an opportunity to share your thoughts and experiences through virtual events and on social media and help combat the stigma of mental illness.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
Monday, January 25
Valuing your Mental Health Seminar
Learn from guest speakers and special panelists from York’s clinical Psychology Department on how to improve your mental health during the pandemic. Topics include, but are not limited to, work-life balance, stress, and anxiety management. Spaces are limited, so register today at reconline.yorkulions.ca/ 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Health Education Workshops
(BONUS: Participants will be entered for $10 Starbucks gift card!)
Everyday Mindfulness for Student Success. Learn about two approaches to mindfulness: a traditional guided meditation practice as well as mindful movement practices to help you feel grounded and calm. 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Registration required.
Food and Mood. Learn about how the food you consume can affect your grades and your ability to handle challenges and stressors. The Health Ed Peers lead this discussion about the relationship between nutrition and food choices and how it impacts student well-being. Hear about some mood-boosting food along with some simple and practical recipes for a student budget. 1 to 2 p.m. Registration required.
Tuesday, January 26
Instagram Talk to us!
Talk to A&R representatives on the @yorkulions Instagram! They’ll will be asking students “How do you prioritize self-care during the school year?” and will be sharing responses throughout the afternoon. Participate for a chance to win a Bell Let’s Talk toque! 11 a.m.
Fairly simple: learn how to use journaling and colouring to help you with your mental health. It may sound like it’s almost too easy, but journaling is a great way to manage your stress and mental health. Learn how to get started and why journaling can be helpful. Colouring is used to explore feelings, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem. Yet art therapy is not only about learning and improving yourself — it’s a means of personal expression, too.
Download your virtual colouring sheet and bring some art supplies and/or a pencil! 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Find the Zoom Link here.
Health Education Workshop
Healthier Coping Strategies: Resilience For Stress Reduction. Attend this session and learn some healthy habits and methods for reducing stress and increasing your mood. 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Registration required.
Wednesday, January 27
Healthy Meals with a Nutritionist
Join Sport Dietitian Katie Jessop in this session to learn about low-budget, high-quality protein meals. Any and all questions about nutrition are encouraged.
In this session, they’ll be making overnight oats! You will need:
- 1 cup oats
- Greek yogurt or soft tofu
- Milk or milk alternative
Katie Jessop is a registered dietitian specializing in sport nutrition. She works with athletes from varsity to elite level in endurance, team and weight class sports. 11 to 11:45 a.m. Find the Zoom Link here.
Hatha Yoga & Meditation Class in collaboration with the York chapters of Jack.org and Peace by PEACE
Join the York chapter of Jack.org and Athletics & Recreation in an all-levels Vinyasa Yoga session to help support your self-care routine to prioritize student mental health. This medium-intensity session will involve a flowing style class to deepen your understanding of postures, breathing and relaxation to strengthen the body and reduce stress. Link movement with breathing to help guide your body into a moving meditation to allow for deeper presence and confidence on and off the mat. Register today at reconline.yorkulions.ca/ 6 to 7 p.m.
Learn more about Jack.org
Learn more about Peace by PEACE
Health Education Workshop:
Virtual Mental Health 101. This workshop will provide you with ways to support your peers with mental health concerns. It will also provide a safe online space for discussion and education about self-care practices, healthy boundaries and more. 1 to 2 p.m.
Thursday, January 28: Bell Let’s Talk Day!
Share your Bubble!
Share your virtual Bell Let’s Talk bubble and tag @yorkulions! Participate for a chance to win a Bell Let’s Talk toque!
Complete your BLT bubble via the Virtual Photobooth and then view the Virtual Gallery once you’ve submitted it!
Also, all members of the I AM A LION Ambassador Program that share their bubble and hashtag #LionsAmbassador will receive an Ambassador virtual stamp and be entered to win a toque as well. Not a member? Register for the Ambassador program!
Health Education Workshops
Physical Health & Sleep: How to Be Physically Active at Home. Attend this workshop and learn tips on how to remain active while staying at home during the lockdown and hear tips about improving your sleep hygiene. 10 to 11 a.m. Registration required.
Virtual Mental Health 101. This workshop will provide you with ways to support your peers with mental health concerns. It will also provide a safe online space for discussion and education about self-care practices, healthy boundaries and more. Noon to 1 p.m.
Attention International Students! Global Peer Program: Let’s Talk Mental Health. If you are an international student, join this conversation on how to navigate mental health challenges specific to you. Learn about resources available to support you at York and approaches to improve your mental health at home. 3 to 4 p.m. Registration required.
Success Tip: Check in with your Faculty or College to see if they have any virtual events planned for Bell Let’s Talk week as well!
If you are feeling anxious about current world events or want to reach out for support for other reasons, here are some resources that are always available to you throughout the year.
Recognizing that mental health is connected to physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing as well as your academic and financial wellbeing, Student Community & Leadership Development has curated a suite of COVID-19 resources to help you adjust to the new norms of physical distancing and online learning from home.
The web page includes a variety of fitness and nutrition resources to help you keep your body in good health. Also take a look at some of their resources for creating a study space in your room, meditation and relaxation.
Student Counselling & Development is continuing to offer individual single-session counselling and telephone support at 416-736-5297, Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. They have also provided a suite of COVID-19 mental health resources to help you prioritize your mental health and wellbeing and access additional community supports. Glendon Campus students can access individual counselling through Glendon’s Accessibility, Well-Being and Counselling.
The Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support & Education (The Centre) coordinates support and resources for all members of the community that have experienced sexual violence and assists survivors through the complaint process. They can be reached by phone and email.
The Office of Student Community Relations (OSCR) is also available by phone and email to provide support to students impacted by critical incidents or personal crises, and to help with referrals.
As a York student you also have access to these community services:
The Big White Wall is a free online mental health and wellbeing service offering self-guided programs and creative outlets to anonymously express yourself, connect and learn.
BounceBack Ontario is a free program that offers telephone coaching sessions and online videos to help you build skills to overcome mild-to-moderate anxiety or depression and regain positive mental health.
keep.meSAFE is a mental wellness student support program that lets you call or chat with a counsellor any time of the day or night from anywhere in the world. Access real-time help and self-help resources, articles, videos and other assessment tools.
Let us know what mental health means to you tweet us @YorkUStudents or comment below!
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